Chautala, Bhanot to rule suspended IOA
As scripted, Abhay Singh Chautala Wednesday was elected unopposed as the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), defying the edict of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to go ahead with the polls.
As if to thumb its nose at the IOC, which has suspended the IOA, the General Body Meeting (GBM) flexed its muscles by going ahead and electing the tainted Lalit Bhanot as secretary general.
Bhanot, who spent 11 months in jail on charges of irregularities in awarding a Time Scoring Result (TSR) contract for the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games.
The GBM obviously wants to send a clear message to the IOC that it was a one-horse race as 153 of the 180 member electoral college lined up behind Chautala and Bhanot.
The meeting made it clear that it was holding the election following the directive of the Delhi High Court, though the IOC was equally vehement in saying the poll was null and void since it did not conform to the Olympic Charter and followed the government's National Sports Development Code under duress.
The GBM took shelter under the cloak that the election was overseen by a panel of three eminent judges headed by Justice Anil Dev Singh, retired Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court.
Bhanot said he hasn't been proved guilty and had followed the law of the land.
"I have followed the law of the land. I haven't been found guilty till now. I will quit if I am proven guilty," said Bhanot, who was the secretary general of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.
During the Annual General Meeting, the house passed a resolution that Bhanot be asked to present to the IOC the legal status of his cases.
Chautala blamed outgoing secretary general Randhir Singh, India's sole representative in the IOC, for IOA's suspension.
Randhir, who last week pulled out from the presidential race, stayed away from the GBM and the election.
"Today Randhir Singh is the one who is responsible for the mess in the IOC. Now we will form a committee to sort out the problem. The committee will meet the IOC and aprise it about IOA's position. We will try to convince them and hopefully we will find a solution," said Chautala.
Newly elected treasurer N. Ramchandran and vice president Narinder Batra have been nominated as the IOA members on the IOC.
Outgoing acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra's name was proposed by Chautala for the post of life president and was unanimously accepted by a show of hands.
Malhotra said the IOA had to go ahead with the election because the "law of the land states that if the process for the election has started it must be completed."
"IOA elections were not to defy the IOC. The process had already started and we had to complete it. IOA hasn't done anything wrong. It was a tussle between the IOC and tne government of India and the IOA has unwittingly become a victim," he said.
The new office bearers are:
President: Abhay Singh Chautala
Vice presidents: Akhilesh Dasgupta, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Anurag Thakur, R.K. Anand, Tarlochan Singh, Narender Batra, G.S. Mander and Birender Prasad Baishya.
Secretary general: Lalit Bhanot
Joint secretaries: Anandeshwar Pandey, Raja K. Sidhu, Rakesh Gupta, Kuldip Vats, Rajeev Mehta, S.M. Hashmi
Executive council members: V N Nanavati, Bala Saheb S Landge, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, D R Chaudhuri, Md Mustaque Ahmad, Adhip Das, Rajesh Bhandari, Suresh Sharma, Balbir Singh Kushwaha, Bhupender Singh Bajwa, Ashok Sahota, N.Kumar, Vagis Pathak, R.K. Gupta, Namdev S Shirgaonkar, Sahdev Yadav, V.A Shiyad, Rana Gurmet Singh Sodhi, Vikram Singh Sisodia, P.K Pradhan
IOC members: Narender Batra and N Ramachandran